Friday, 27 February 2009


Of course American and British style are intimately linked when you start talking about Ivy League style. I should note here that really, American workwear is a separate thing to the Ivy League side of things, rather than being one big melting pot as I've been implying over recent posts. I guess it's town v. country, but also upper class v. working class.

But in essence, there is a crossover between styles of dress, British versus American outdoor brands and indoor brands, and the idea of elite pursuits and workwear dressing.

I kind of love that knickerbockers and shooting garments are being re-appropriated for Manhattan bicycle polo, (from Intersection magazine), country to town. Check out these from Bicycle Fixation through Archival Clothing. And elite British brands such as Barbour, Brady bags etc.have their American counterparts grounded in a more working man's tradition.

As for the trappings of British & American traditional class and style, this Ivy League and Savile Row trend is certainly to blame for all the boaters, bowler & top hats currently doing the roungs of all the fashion shoots.


A fleece lining aswell. Where couldn't you go in this jacket? For sale on Etsy.


This combination of acid wash and preppy is the only way I can see this type of wash crossing over into the mega seller, instead of the niche/TopShop style young fashion. It kind of makes the J.Crew style edgier, without being too scary. I adore J.Crew.

Picture courtesy of
Go Fug Yourself.


Ivy League style doesn't really go away, it's just a question of which bits & how it's currently being used & interpreted.
That said, its certainly in vogue at the moment, and Rugby by Ralph Lauren is covering it very effectively, while RRL takes care of the super vintage heritage side of the American dream.

The Trad has scanned all of this amazing Japanese book on Ivy League style, Take Ivy (above). I think it sells for hundreds on ebay, and its a treasure trove.
It can feel quite stilted to follow traditional style references slavishly, but there's another great blog,
Hollister Hovey, who picks out true Ivy league style - not set in aspic but contantly drawing things to this aesthetic, keeping it moving.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


The whole wild west aesthetic of classic heritage denim fits right in with the renaissance of true American heritage clothing. The traditional denim accessories and finishing techniques complement the outdoor workwear gear and chime with the 1950's aesthetic as another golden age of denim iconography.

The result is that I have an eye-wateringly expensive belt that I bought from
Jean Shop because I became convinced that my wardrobe would not be complete without a very large metal buckle on a tooled leather belt.
(Picture of the store above). The smell in the shop is amazing, the leather reminds me of shopping as a child in Camden Market with my mum. I almost think the non-jeans things in the store are cooler than the jeans.

A couple of denim brands have initiated/tried to capitalise on this nexus between American workwear and American denim heritage, the Earnest Sewn store in the Meatpacking District of NY being the most notable, right down to the wagon wheels and bits of cotton lint.
However, most of the jeans that are worn with the trad style clothes at the moment are probably Japanese - it's that kind of anorak trend. Made in Turkey or China just isn't going to cut it. Your other clothes can be made in America, but the jeans have to be Japanese I reckon. Dark, slim, anti-fit style with a small cuff (all the better to show off the boot/brogue). I can see faded and paler denims coming in, and of course denim and chambray shirts are a must.

As for American denim brands reclaiming the territory of authentic 'atelier' style producers from Japan, I'm really interested in a couple of things I've read about recently in San Francisco
. Firstly in an interview with a Levi's designer Peter Stolz on The Brilliance, 'I hope to someday make high quality, handcrafted denim garments much like the winemakers in Napa and Sonoma Counties make their wines: with a great attention to detail and care.'
Also the oneculture brand, a small start-up men's brand (who's founder is documenting his progress in a
blog). In keeping with the new 'made in America' spirit, there's obviously room for smaller brands who's ambition is to produce something they love and sell to Selfedge, rather than selling to Saks.
Not many American denim mills anymore, but that's another story.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Gosh, that's a whole lot of credibility for one pair of jeans to bear.

Full article + interviews about the collaboration between a denim store, a jeans brand and the rabid forum users of supertalk_superdenim on Coolhunting. I think it's pretty cool that they managed to get their own denim made - there's probably a big stack of rolls somewhere that they need to use up. 300 pairs isn't going to keep the looms running... It's pretty smart developing a product that you have an in-built customer base for, who feel ownership already. A good way to start a new brand that has a lot of people vested in its success and convinced of it's integrity.

Selfedge is a shop in San Francisco that I stumbled on when I was there in October, having not heard anything about it before. This makes me think a) it's very cool because I found it rather than being told it was the in place, and b) I'm very cool for finding it. Anyway, aside from my brilliance, I loved the unwashed denim Flat Head and Iron Heart shirts but my favourite thing was the 21ozs denim jeans they have in store. I've seen outscale twill denim before (I want to say Nisshinbo?), but never a 21ozs in jeans. Very cool.


Junya Watanabe's AW09 collection shows just how much inspiration menswear is taking from these American workwear brands at the moment. He has always mined American workwear & Ivy League style, but this recent collection pretty much distills all the key elements.


I feel called upon to address the new cut-off/cuffed boyfriend short after the cool vintage ones below. Yes, they're cute. I think they're infinitely cooler than the denim hotpant. But the above could be yours for S285/$178/$154 respectively. I find myself moved to get myself a pair of old Levi's and see if I can remember how a pair of scissors work.

All the above are off ShopBop.


Nice alternative to the new versions of cut-off cuffed baggy jeans that are all over the place. These look hot.
Treasure Chest Vintage, currently yours for $12.50


If I'm not careful, this could get to be a bad habit.
Bidding's open -
Treasure Chest Vintage.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


There's lots more to come, but I just wanted to post a sense of the types of hunting/fishing gear that your trad workwear dressing entails. What's so lovely is that each company has a thorough history of production geared to quality and practicality. As an interesting aside, I don't think this is only the domain of those over 25. I was at a music festival in the summer and you couldn't move for 17 year old boys in old Barbours.

All pictures, (and much more knowledge!), courtesy of
Archival Clothing.


A gorgeously-edited selection by DenimHunt: images from The Sartorialist of folks in denim during New York Fashion Week. These are my favourites. I want to look like all of them, all at once. I feel like an old-timer with a pipe, going 'only with denim can you have this many looks my girl, you mark my words'.


Well I'd recommend The Selvedge Yard and Archival Clothing for their lists of merchants & brands, but these two pictures really chime for me.

On the left is
Burkman Brothers, who I am more than a little bit in love with. They both used to work for Gap and have set up on their own, combining letterman-style jackets with more outdoor-style check shirts and heavy duty cargo chinos - an amazing blend of Golden Age American references with heritage quality and attention to detail.

On the right are Wolverine boots, these from their new heritage collection launching for Autumn 09.

Reports & images on both these brands from
A Continuous Lean.


Pleats! I love a pleated trouser. (And a fashion singular, clearly). I've been talking about volume around the hip area for a while, and the Current/Elliott Victorian bloomers, currently winging their way towards me, do this in a great way. The Lover denim had a 1940's volume to them, with pleated wide-leg Gatsby style trousers (mixing decades now, sorry).

hese Marc Jacobs jeans have a great 1940's, His Girl Friday kind of feel. The way the cut becomes quite nipped down the thigh and calf gives them a new and flattering feel. Although pleats are generally held to be a problem, I don't think so, as tulip skirts have been around for a few seasons doing a very similar silhouette. When everyone is doing pleats I shall be smug and unbearable.

Monday, 23 February 2009


Homework to get started.


The internet offers up astounding things, and is currently ruining any pretense I have at a social life. This is mainly due to the collection of blogs on trad/americana/traditional workwear/general gentlemanly pursuits that abound, some of which I have taken the care to list to your right, under 'Men's Trad'. There's more than I've listed, and they pretty much all link to each other. But be warned, if you start down that path, it may never end.
It doesn't have to be men's of course, but the clothes are originally for your working chap, is the general idea.

I wanted to pull together all the different sorts of inspirations this leads to, or at least just flashes of them, rather than reproducing every single person's blog, because
it's their stuff, and because I'd go mad. I'm not marinated in the Filson bag, Junya Watanabe version of the yellow puffa, Wolverine boots, lumberjack check nuance, so I can't pretend to understand where every bit of this is coming from. But I know what I like.

I've written before on the timeliness of 'Trad'. I even have a tag! I think it's a bit more than a pale denim or acid wash trend, and of course it's about more than denim. It's better explained in the Newsweek article above, courtesy of A Continuous Lean
. Denim has a huge part in this, as one of the classic American workwear fabrics, but as yet it doesn't seem to me that a brand is fully capitalising on this in the way that, say, Woolrich have had a catwalk collection for AW09. Levi's certainly have their vintage ranges, and Lee Japan have done an 'archive' denim collection that will be in Europe in the autumn, and that's just skimming the surface. But that feels slightly different, as denim brands have always done this in various ways. Perhaps it's because denim brands have always built on their iconic heritage (those that have it, and those that make it up), whereas the bag, boot and outdoor brands are rediscovered classics and the manufacturers haven't consciously been using their heritage to sell to the hipsters as denim brands have. Not sure. (Also of course, I'm sure that the fans of this style would reject the hipster tag as utterly against the point).

Either way, this is a perfect storm of revitalised interest in America (Obama); a return to traditional values (we're all scared shitless and worried we've been on the wrong path); authenticity in manufacturing (we've realised we're blinding small children in our thirst for more cheap fashion. I'm exaggerating); authenticity in design (a storied heritage makes us feel in touch with our history, permanent, almost moral); durable and long-lasting quality (waste feels ecologically and ethically wrong) American crafts having a renaissance (from Navajo style blankets and beading, to Puritan crochet work and quilting, not to mention the workwear and Ivy League style that the Japanese designers have been quietly assimilating for years); and the fact that the stuff looks cool and lasts and wears well. It's almost like what we love about jeans has been transferred to all of these other things. There's even a blog where people post pictures of their worn bags, just like with jeans.


For someone who's just claimed that I wouldn't be donning a denim gilet, I am remarkably fickle. Sleeveless things seem to be throwing themselves at me at the moment, and these, I love. They're not denim, but the styling could so easily lend itself to being done in washed indigo. But they're pretty good as they are, and along with lace, you can't move for leather these days.
The vest in the middle is described by the Reference Library as a 'Rocky Mountain Remington West leather puffy vest with concho buttons', a description I think came directly from ebay. The vest on the left & right is the same piece - someone's been enjoying the Poladroid. It's by Hayden Harnett.


I secretly love Twenty8Twelve jeans. No, I have no pride. I would prefer it if people in the public eye didn't pretend that they did all the work, keeping the designers hidden in the cellar with only thread and pincushions for nourishment. (From what I hear, Victoria does more than most on her jeans, and Savannah does the knitwear for this line. Happy to pass on unsubstantiated rumours!)
But I can see the huge benefit for a company in having an immediate connection with a possible audience rather than having to establish a brand in the public imagination, and having a 'lifestyle' proposition already created for you that people can identify with and buy into. Much time saved and a direct framework to create within and speak through. Might not be right, but certainly effective.

And with Twenty8Twelve they had some really stunning detailing, feminine and classic touches and great ideas. The stud rivets were a great idea, lovely welt pockets, stand-out full leg zips & buttons, cool leather belt loops. Needless to say, I couldn't get into the jeans, as they were a long way away from stretch although the denim was lovely to look at.

Love these though. Denim with no detailing, no pockets, possibly even a jegging. Look really cute. When will we tire of skinnies?

If you're interested, full collection at


Back to my favourite ebay store, for more 90's grunge/sleeveless denim gilets/pale denim. It's probably worth adding that the day I try to pull off the sleeveless denim is the day someone needs to step in and save me from myself.
Treasure Chest Vintage

Friday, 20 February 2009


I've had this picture for absolutely ages (you might be able to tell...), so I can't even remember which magazine it's from, sorry. I really really love this style of rip, it looks rubbed rather than slit. The loose knit striped mohair jumper is also bang on. And with the bit of 1990's grunge stuff mentioned recently, it seemed right. Perhaps it's the pose, but they totally remind me of skater jeans. And when you're reminded of skater jeans...


These images aren't new (southern hemisphere SS09), but Maurie & Eve are a brand who used to make printed tank tops and are fairly new to the full collection. Trust Australian fashion to combine trend & streetwear in a way that actually makes me want to wear bleach-splattered marble denim. And a ripped denim dress. In a slightly less challenging move, they also make me want to be in Sydney. Have asked Australian friend where these images are taken, and we've come up with Botany Bay. Still makes me want to be there. You can see the rest of the images here.

Thursday, 19 February 2009


This entire site is utterly glorious. From what I can figure out courtesy of google translation, they remake old American workwear. I'm going to come back and back to this I know, but firstly, drink in these buttons.

e-workers site


My earlier post about The Outsiders made me want to hunt out some sleeveless denim. The rider-style gilet is definitely a grower, and this one, by Erin Wasson for RVCA again convinces me of the uses of the marble wash. The sleeveless shirt/jacket on James King (courtesy of Ragpony) looks even better I think. Or vintage Levi's, for the classicists.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Courtesy of guest-posting on Denimology, I've come across this new Scando denim brand, Never Denim. They're a girly version of Cheap Monday - affordable & edgy. I'm pretty much in love with the one shoulder lightening bolt dress. Full catwalk collection pics on Denimology & the Never Denim website.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


I'm pretty sure that this was called snowwash when I was a kid, and I'm remembering some sort of jacket and jeans ensemble, but that might be a misplaced memory. It's certainly possible, my mum did dress me in some pretty crazy things (I come from a long line of denim designers). With that history, it's surprising that I'm not an early-uptaker on every denim whim that happens past, but I've been looking at Cheap Monday acid wash jeans for a good year now, and, no. But the shade texture of acid wash jeans is beginning, belatedly to appeal, although TopShop had a pair of mid blue 'chipped' denim Eve jeans a couple of weeks ago(which I can't find on their website), which looked vintage in a much cooler way. The denim was far too thick for me to want to try them on, so to date I remain untouched by scary denim.

As is the way with trends, acid wash is actually going to be around for much longer than a one-season wonder, as designers work through the best way to make it appeal. And these pictures from the Levi's Blue F/W2009 lookbook have wormed their way in to my thoughts.

Left, mid right, Levi's Blue (source, Neighbour)
Mid left, Top Shop
Far right, Cheap Monday

Monday, 16 February 2009


I don't think I'm breaking new ground by saying that vintage jeans are great. But rather than having file upon file of tearsheets with great details and shapes, I'm just going to stick them all up here, because they don't stop being great.

Friday, 13 February 2009


This book captures my imagination. It was on my parent's bookshelves when I was young and I was transfixed by it. I loved the picture of Jeanne Moreau, the smoke curling into the dark background. Looking again, it's hard to find a picture that doesn't produce a strong emotion. I thought it had gone missing a year or so ago, and looked for a replacement, and the price was nudging $1000. I was pretty happy when it showed up.

The full title is Goodbye Baby and Amen: A Saraband for the Sixties. It's a photography book, with portraits by David Bailey and text by Peter Evans, but it's so much more than that. The words inside are spare and bewitching. The images are the same. It's divided into chapters such as Couples and The Look, and the portraits are of artists, musicians, actors and intellectuals, some who are still household names, and some who have faded from popular view a little; it's these perhaps that you want to discover more than those who still feel familiar. But the genius of the portraits is that no one feels familiar, even the Rolling Stones, and everyone looks absolutely young without the nostalgia, romantic without the sentimentality, that often accompanies 1960's photographs.

I've done my best, but I don't think these pictures really do it justice.